Dancers and prancers

See PS below

We were watching West Side Story, the 1961 movie, a couple of nights ago, and it had such an other-world feel to it. I had never sat through it before (we only made it to an old-time blockbuster movie concept, “intermission”). What was it like to be alive in 1961 when this soft, homoerotic movie (music by Leonard Bernstein) garnered ten Oscars?

Yes, I know that Spielberg is doing a remake, due to be released next year. The movie was already soft and effeminate. I can’t wait for Mr. Sappy himself to girly it up even more.

I also know it is based on Romeo and Juliet and star-crossed lovers. But I much prefer Norm MacDonald’s totally miffed wtf take on it as the SNL cast begins singing and dancing … “What are you doing?”

The whole concept of a musical is lost on some of us … I went, cluelessly it turned out, years ago to see Mamma Mia with my wife and another couple. I remember that opening scene where Amanda Seyfried skips on down to the Mediterranean and then starts singing! Good Lord! What had I gotten myself into? Later Pierce Brosnan professes his love for Meryl Streep, and it is West Side Story all over again – James Bond prostrating himself before a domineering female rather than just taking her down, no longer a man. Is he a Jet? A Cobra? A Shark? It does not matter. They easily interchange. His singing was painful to endure. He sounded like he was in labor, giving birth, the transformation complete.

What brought this on? We live in an era when gays are free to dance among us, where the concept of a manly man is considered quaint. Bruce Jenner became Caitlynn,  but kept his penis. We must refer to it  as “her” penis. In 1961 things were quite different, and yet this movie with all its girly men prancing about was all the rage … perhaps mostly in the entertainment business, where gay is as common as straight. It was the first big coming out.

What is different?  Back then they kept it under wraps, thank you. There was a lot of winking among entertainer-types, but at least we could all pretend that Tony secretly has the hots for Maria instead of Riff.

A couple of years ago I sat waiting for a haircut – the barber is our neighbor, and we were discussing a house for sale between our properties. We considered the possibility that it might be purchased by a gay couple, and I mentioned that at least we could count on it having very nice curtains. I got the hand of disapproval, “Stop now!” Shelly, our barber friend, is all up to speed and accepts gays as human beings. Josh, a large red headed straight manly man, was sitting there too and could not suppress his laughter. Finally Shelly laughed too. It was still OK to be a little bit amused by this brave new world.

Yes, I know, gay men and women are born that way, and living in the closet is hell. I am glad they are out. Now that it is done, can we calm down? Can we cease and desist with the prancing about in our faces? I suggest the following: If you are born with a penis, I don’t care where you put it, but when you are in public, please act as if there are two sexes, one masculine, the other feminine.

Which reminds me … I was at Costco last week, and a clerk asked me if I needed assistance. He had a male voice, needed a shave, and was wearing a dress and earrings.

Norm, help me! Norm! Please rescue me! I do not belong in this era!


PS: I wish to correct any impressions left based on either prejudice or ignorance. I viewed the movie “West Side Story” as “homoerotic,” but it was pointed out to me by a commenter that Leonard Bernstein, who is widely regarding as a musical genius, wrote the music for the stage play inserting tritones (aka “The Devil’s Interval”), or notes that do not satisfy our brains need for closure when listening to music. He did this deliberately and throughout the play to accompany the script in places where the plot would not satisfy our need for resolution and good outcomes. Do read the comment in full, and if you have time, take note of the link supplied therein. Things are often deeper and more elegant than I imagine. Also, “homoeroticism” would be either in the eye of the beholder, or deliberately supplied by the director (rather than the musical composer) of the movie.

14 thoughts on “Dancers and prancers

  1. I have a similar reaction as Norm usually, but I’ll admit I haven’t given musicals much of a chance. Maybe Rodgers and Hammerstein are okay? The clips I’ve heard seem like clever wordplay and maybe kind of satirical.

    Also haven’t you heard the classic lore of the older conservative couple (even moreso than you probably are) who are wary of the gay couple moving in, and then they turn out to be the best neighbors ever. Feel like I’ve heard that both in real life and fiction.

    Off topic… The recent Dayton mass shooting story had that detail of the abandoned pile of shoes in some accounts and news photos. I’ve asked several “normies” what they make of it and they admit great puzzlement. The best explanation they have is that EMTs may pull them off and toss them aside while loading people on stretchers… Which still seems inadequate and bizarre. It also implies that then some cop(?) pushes them all into a big pile on the street… Where a news photog then shoots them and includes them in stories with no explanation.

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    1. I would like discussion on the recent shootings. I think Mark covered the Vegas one.
      So was El Paso Walmart/Dayton staged or not?

      The rock scene especially with MTV pushed the fem agenda quite well. I know there are some 80’s rock fans that post here so we all know about the long hair glam look. Most of the local Theater plays I watched always had a gay vibe, and not shockingly most of the actors were gay.

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      1. Great cover, perhaps, for a targeted killing among the “mass.” Is there a military base nearby? Are these killers programmed, drugged, hypnotized, you get the idea. What if a real potential whistle-blower was “blown away” before spilling, or silenced by killing friends and/or family among the chaos. I think “random killings” make no sense. We just cannot see the trick in the “magic.”

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        1. Thanks Maarten, I used to follow Jim Stone constantly, but as you say we have to read discerningly…but he does have some good stuff.

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      2. I haven’t researched the recent slew of mass murder…just figure it is more of the same, but I am curious…will check out the link Maarten added

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    2. I heard an Ole Daamegard interview about mass shootings a couple of years back and he mentioned that there was always some loose shoes lying around…maybe it is some type of signal

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  2. Gay means liking men. Me and my BF, we don’t cultivate any attitudes. We don’t hold hands in public. On dating sites, like the blue sites in Europe, there are many profiles excluding feminine acting men. This phenomenon has been described as “straight acting”, and of course damned as not PC. More confusion, I think there is only gay acting. This is promoted by the movies, and adopted by people who use it for identity building.
    When it comes to the Mammamia movie, I couldn’t watch it without thinking about transgendered actors all the time. In the movie itself, there is no smoking gun, but suspects. But, where are the original female ABBA singers? Maybe they “don’t pass” in their old days…

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    1. Musical theater does not translate well to the big screen. It really is at its best in a live performance.

      I grew up in a home where classical music of the 3Bs variety was revered. And nothing else. It took many years before I was even exposed to musicals snd began to appreciate the form.

      Sure, it is unlifelike for characters to break into song every few minutes. But much in the same way that every play or movie is not true to life: real people don’t trade snappy dialogue all day long, or take a fist to the face and come back swinging. In a good musical, the songs will serve to establish character and advance the plot. In a great musical, the songs can also stand on their own apart from the show and simply be wonderful music.

      West Side Story is only a good musical in my opinion. Bernstein’s ego is the ostinato on every page of the score. He tries too hard to be different and daring with his stunt of using the “Devil’s interval” everywhere. [https://www.classicfm.com/composers/bernstein-l/bernstein-west-side-story-tritone/] Once you catch on to the ploy, it is like eating a meal when the cap fell off the pepper shaker.

      Some great musicals?
      My Fair Lady
      Oklahoma!
      Guys and Dolls
      Chicago
      Fiddler on the Roof
      And perhaps my favorite … The Producers.

      The latter acknowledges and embraces the image of Broadway as a haunt for those light in the loafers. Whether or not a given show projects the “homoerotic” vibe you picked up on is totally a directorial choice. It is not inherent to the art form.

      If you appreciate clever use of language, musicals can be a source of endless delight. Don’t write them off too quickly. Like this chap does …

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      1. Never saw West Side Story, the SNL skit was hilarious! I did discover musicals eventually the 1st one I ever saw was when I was in high school and a friend drug me t see Sound of Music….absolutely one of my favorites….also a favorite is Streisand in Funny Girl…I know Streisand is controversial…as with Travolta, but I loved Saturday Night Fever too. I did see Ny Fair Lady and thoroughly enjoyed it. I just recently saw Bohemian Rhapsody and the new A Star is Born…enjoyed those too.

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      2. Don’t forget Paint Your Wagon … Tyrone introduced me to Clint Eastwood talking to the trees, but I absolutely enjoyed Lee Marvin singing (?) about being born under a wandering star. Yes, there are good things there to enjoy.

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        1. From Justin to Kelly was playing in my living room the night before this piece. Hurry wake Steve Kelly and put on pot of coffee for coincidence clicker. I highly recommend this musical. It captures the humor and attitudes of the early years American Idol genre quite well. I remember life being good back then aside from my now ex-wife telling me for three straight days my cat Toby was dead when he was still alive claiming she had him put down while at the vet. Later I learned the vet kept him there for observation which my ex-wife needs although nobody can outdue H or T’s funny farm ticket punched face slapped silly histrionics. Being sexually abused as children sealed their Borderline Personality Disorder fates. Same with many lesbians and gay men. Sexual physical emotional abuse as children is behind most men and women becoming gay. Being born gay is rare like being born mentally challenged Mark. I believe being abused as chidren leads to alternative lifestyles and way out front hacking their way into making their mark onto all associated lists including Steve K’s Koinky Dinks.

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